Variation in Pest and Natural Enemy Populations — Relevance to Brown Planthopper Control Strategies
The brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens (Stal), shows complex variation in its ability to attack and damage different cultivars of rice. Populations with distinct patterns of virulence have been termed “biotypes”. Such biotypes represent adaptive responses of the species to local host plant variation and care should be taken when identifying the “same” biotype from different regions. Generalisation from laboratory biotype cultures to field populations should be treated with caution.
Studies on hybridisation and acoustic mate recognition signals show clear genetic differentiation of populations in different parts of Asia and Australasia. A supposed “non-virulent biotype” of N. lugens associated with the weed, Leersia hexandra, is a separate, but morphologically indistinguishable, biological species. The term biotype has thus been used for a variety of biological phenomena and is not helpful in determining appropriate control strategies.
Resistance breeding programmes for N. lugens may be expected to be of long term advantage only in combination with other control strategies, particularly biological control. In the absence of pesticide use, natural enemies of N. lugens generally maintain good levels of control. Effective pest management in tropical countries will depend on an integration of resistance breeding and biological control.
KeywordsNatural Enemy Field Population International Rice Research Institute European Economic Community Brown Planthopper
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